Back at the end of August, when I was in Sligo for a short break, the days were long, languid, and warm. Now inky darkness descends at around five o’clock and there is a distinct autumnal chill in the air. I need to rummage through my scarf drawer, before I leave the house, for something to wrap around my neck as a bulwark against the cold.
Category Archives: Designers
Last Sunday I ventured into the centre of Dublin, filled with a certain amount of trepidation, because that winter festival is approaching faster than a runaway train, and I was afeared I would meet a total cacophonous crush. But thankfully no: the city was gently awash with people, traffic whistled by, and Christmas lights twinkled but all in a pleasantly busy and festive-y way.
I don’t doubt that, half a century hence, when someone sits down to write the annals of design in Ireland in the early part of the twenty-first century that the names of Jonathan and Mark Legge will be writ large in that history.
On Tuesday I went to Showcase Ireland the annual trade fair organized by the Craft Council of Ireland which exhibits the best and most innovative of Irish craft, design and manufacturing to both Irish and international buyers. Regretfully I had limited time so I speed around trying to take it all in but as there were hundreds of exhibitors I only absorbed a tiny fraction of what was on view. One thing however that stood out for me, as much as a skyscraper would on a road otherwise filled with bungalows, was the extraordinary passion and enthusiasm of all the exhibitors I spoke to for what they do.
As Christmas fast approaches my native land is not exactly a place high on hope as the dastardly pantomime villain Economic Woe and his evil side-kick Recession hold fast their icy grasp on this fiscally challenged isle. A troika of wise (?) men visit us regularly but instead of bearing gifts of gold (if only) frankincense and myrrh they bring instead directives for the implementation of austerity measures from their (and our!) masters at the IMF. Yet, despite all that, when I went, this Saturday, to visit the pop up shop that was part of Christmas on the Square I came away filled with hope.
Designers shape their creations out of nascent ideas in their fertile imaginations. Imaginations that have themselves been configured not just by the sparking of the creative gene but also by the objects, people and place that impinge on their lives and, of course, by a wealth of aesthetic and design history. The designs they conceive shape the lives of the rest of us: good liveable-with design enhances our individual worlds in so many immeasurable ways .
At the corner of two leafy streets, lined with period red brick townhouses, in a quite but interesting Dublin 8 residential neighbourhood, a mere stone’s throw from the city centre, is an alluring independent clothes shop – Dolls – owned by Petria Lenehan.
The weather on Monday was ark-appropriate: for ark-appropriate read insanely wet, wild and windy. So, I was in need of something cheering to take my mind off the incessant rain and the ubiquitous grey mist. And I found just the thing when I called into the Irish Design Shop’s branch in the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) and bought an Ursula Celano notebook which has an utterly charming cover a bit of which you see in the image above.
I have a tea towel obsession. Yes, you read that correctly I did say a tea towel obsession. However, obsession may be a tad strong – let’s just say I have a thing about tea towels. I am not fascinated with the use of these small rectangular pieces of cloth, as I abhor drying dishes and I would sooner do without most of the other labour-saving devices in my kitchen ahead of that splendid washer and dryer-upper that is the modern-day dishwashing machine.
It is so very seldom that I walk into any sort of retail space and think to myself wow this is just so right. But I did when I went to see Makers & Brothers pop-up shop the weekend before last. Makers & Brothers is such a good name because it so perfectly describes the enterprise. Mark and Jonathan Legge are the brothers: the makers are a selection of craftspeople and designers whose products the brothers sell.